All sewists should definitely check out the description of the dress on the official Royal Wedding page, which goes into painstaking detail. The most fascinating part is the lace, no doubt. It was the star of the show on this gown, making up the overlay on the bodice, appliqued to the skirt, and even to the silk tulle underskirt.
The lace appliqué for the bodice and skirt was hand-made by the Royal School of Needlework, based at Hampton Court Palace. The lace design was hand-engineered (appliquéd) using the Carrickmacross lace-making technique, which originated in Ireland in the 1820s. Individual flowers have been hand-cut from lace and hand-engineered onto ivory silk tulle to create a unique and organic design, which incorporates the rose, thistle, daffodil and shamrock.
And if that weren't detailed enough, you can also read about how often the workers washed their hands and their ages.
The Royal School of Needlework (RSN), based at Hampton Court Palace, assisted the Alexander McQueen team in accurately cutting out the delicate motifs from the lace fabrics and positioning the lace motifs with precision into the new design. The lace motifs were pinned, ‘framed up’ and applied with stab stitching every two to three millimetres around each lace motif. The workers washed their hands every thirty minutes to keep the lace and threads pristine, and the needles were renewed every three hours, to keep them sharp and clean. . . . The RSN workers included existing staff, former staff, tutors, graduates and students, with the youngest aged 19.It was very nice getting to read a description that goes into such specific detail about sewing technique and materials. For example: The body of the gown was made of satin gazar, a smooth crisp silk. The wedding site also goes into the various inspirations for the gown, saying "The ivory satin bodice, which is narrowed at the waist and padded at the hips, draws on the Victorian tradition of corsetry and is a hallmark of Alexander McQueen’s designs." Padded hips? Interesting!
I'll end by saying I'm so glad she went with a female designer. This is going to make Sarah Burton the big designer to watch; rumors are flying that she's the top pick to succeed Galliano at Dior. Congrats, Ms. Burton!